The Soul selects her own Society
Then shuts the Door
To her divine Majority
Present no more
Unmoved she notes the Chariots pausing
At her low Gate
Unmoved an Emperor kneeling
Upon her Mat
I’ve known her from an ample nation
Then close the Valves of her attention
I dwell in Possibility
A fairer House than Prose
More numerous of Windows
Superior for Doors
Of Chambers as the Cedars
Impregnable of Eye
And for an Everlasting Roof
The Gambrels of the Sky
Of Visitors the fairest
For Occupation This
The spreading wide my narrow Hands
To gather Paradise
Biographer Henry Wells says of Emily Dickinson in Introduction to Emily Dickinson, "She clearly thought even more diligently of the individual words than of any other feature of a poem" (Wells 276) . According to Wells, Emily lived for her poetry. Every word of her poetry is carefully chosen, each image carefully constructed using the exact word. In two of her poems, "I dwell in Possibility" (No. 657) and "The Soul selects her own Society" (No. 303) Dickinson shows her diligence to the word and she creates a theme of authority with her word choices in each of the poems.
In "The Soul selects her own Society", Dickinson seeks to invoke an image of superiority through the careful choosing of the precise word. In this poem she uses words such as "divine", "Chariots", "Emperor", and "nation" to call forth the image of authority. Perhaps the poet sees herself as better than the "Majority". She is "unmoved" by the attention that they lavish on her because she perceives herself better than the "vast Maj...
... middle of paper ...
... god-like by "spreading wide my narrow Hands To gather Paradise". She has created a poem, a work of art - she has taken from the imagination an elusive being and brought it to life in the external world. Wells says, "Each poem becomes a telegram from "infinity" (Wells 283). In an essence Dickinson has created "Paradise" - the Adam and Eve and Garden of Eden liberated through the words of the poet. She has given to the universe a piece of herself.
Lawall, Sarah. The Norton Anthology of World Literature, Second Edition, Vol. E, New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2003.
American Literature Research and Analysis Web Site, University of South Florida in Fort Myers (online), http://itech.fgcu.edu/faculty/wohlpart/alra/edidwell.htm, 11/25/02
Wells, Henry W.,Introduction to Emily Dickinson, Packard and Company, Hendricks House, Chicago, Illinois.1947.
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